DuVal sophomore improving under center -- Gazette.Net


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When DuVal High School quarterback Antoine Brooks left the field after the Tigers’ last game at Sunday’s Prince George’s County Football Coaches Association Passing Tournament, one might have thought he had just lost a fall playoff game.

As he sauntered to the sideline, his eyes were on the ground and his shoulders were drooped.

But DuVal’s coaches quickly jumped in and commended the rising sophomore for his performance. During the two-day tournament at Surrattsville High School, which started on Saturday, the Tigers didn’t lose until Oxon Hill eliminated them in the semifinals.

And in passing tournaments, much of a team’s success rides on its quarterback’s production and the coaching staff reminded him of that, telling Brooks to keep his head up.

“I saw leadership,” DuVal coach Dameon Powell said. “He’s a great leader out there. He’s very poised. He didn’t get rattled any. He made mistakes, but got over it real quick and went down and took his team down to score.”

Coming off a 9-2 season, which was ended in a 4A South Region semifinal loss to Suitland, the Tigers will be relying on Brooks to be the leader of their offense.

Brooks made his varsity debut in that loss to Suitland, taking some snaps in relief of starter Natio Scales. He threw just two passes. The first was a 37-yard completion and the second was an interception.

He showed off his arm on Sunday, taking shots downfield and frequently throwing on the move. In DuVal’s offense, Brooks knows he’ll be counted on to run the ball, too, something he’s fine with. It’s because he grew up a running back and started playing quarterback out of necessity.

“I run the ball. I run it a lot,” Brooks said. “Last year, I ran the ball a lot [on junior varsity]. I’m not actually a quarterback. I’m like a running back. But since we had no quarterback, I stepped up and did it and now I play quarterback. I like playing the position because I like throwing it to my team.”

Staying calm and focused was Brooks’ focus throughout the weekend. He’s just 14, and most of his teammates are at least 15.

But Powell isn’t concerned about Brooks’s age. With some work on fundamentals, Powell is confident Brooks will be dependable under center.

“He’s a ball player, so when he gets on the field, we just have to make plays,” Powell said. “Now it’s just about not getting too hyped. Stay poised. Stay ready to go. That’s the main thing. But he’s going to make plays. He’s an animal.”

cstevens@gazette.net